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Hi all,

Feeling a bit down-in-the-dumps at the moment about our provision. I have all the areas of provision set-up as they should be but often feel that I'm not getting the quality there in terms of enhancements. There are some areas that the children just don't seem to want to use - especially maths. I am constantly evaluating the provision and altering it or adding other resources but there still doesn't seem to be any interest (have also planned for adults to be based in those areas to encourage children to use resources but this only seems to have a short-term effect). I try to make sure that all areas are enhanced in some-way but find it really hard to keep on top of all the enhancements - how do others manage this? I'm not really sure whether I'm providing enough stimuli to keep the children really engaged?

I also wonder whether I need to be providing more teacher-directed activities - I currently do one focused activity per day which sometimes runs for 2-3 days if the interest is there or the children develop it further but often wonder whether I should give the children more direction/suggestions as to what they might do in the areas or provide further activities that are more teacher-directed e.g. a table-top activity which I show them how to do but that they will complete by themselves?

 

Otherwise, I love my job!

 

Thanks

Green Hippo x

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Don't know if I can offer much help as I'm in something of the same situation really - aiming for a certain something that I dont feel I am getting right yet... :o

I don't have a maths area at all....just plan for it in all areas really.

I don't feel we have the time to really consider and prepare for enhancements as we should...and it makes me feel we are losing so many opportunities for the children.

How do you come up with enhancements? Do you enhance in light of childrens interests? eg a child with dinosaur fascination being planned for by adding dinos to the water / sand trays and doing dino footprints in the paint or gloop...having dino books in the book corner and dinosaure themed music and movement etc?

We can come up with the ideas but its putting them into practice that we find a struggle and doing it fast enough to maintain the interest sometimes!

 

We sometimes dont have an adult led activity at all...I find that when I'm doing one i am too tied to be of much use and half the time the children arent as interested in what is planned and I lose the opportunity to support what they are really interested in! Lately I am very much going with the flow and focusing on giving the extra input spontaneously as and when required and then writing up what happens after. Its been working pretty well this past week or so...

 

Ths is a bit waffly but I look forward to what others have to say.

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Hi Green Hippo

 

Don't be down - We have recently updated our layout with designated areas and it's working great!

We designate an area to a member of staff each week and that seems to keep up the enthusiasm in their area.

They search through cupboards to find things that haven't been out for ages and the children respond to new resources

very well. For our PSRN area we have a 'washing line' where children hang up a variety of resources and spend

an age counting, sorting and sequencing. We also have a picture book 'inventory' of our PSRN resources

and children will ask if they can have a particular item out to use.

 

Tidying up was also a problem when we first introduced the areas, but now we incorporate counting, sorting

and matching during this possibly 'boring' time. 'sticker' rewards always seem to get our children motivated too! :o

 

We also have one or two focused activities during a week and then keyworkers have individual goals for their

key children.

 

Don't forget that story time, snack bar, circle time, singing etc are all 'adult led' activities so you are probably getting

a good balance of adult led and child initiated during a session without realising it!

 

dottyp :(xD

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we also find children love to match socks - we have a variety of patterns and colours for the children to pair - we also add animals and other thigs such as octopus , spiders and ask the children to think how many socks they would need - how many pairs is that?

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Just an interesting thought for you about children's concentration levels on any one activity. A good rule of thumb is their age plus 2. So, with a 3 year old, if she focuses on a single activity for 5 minutes, then that is about right. Children of this age do tend to 'flit' from thing to thing, it's just the way that they develop really. It might be that you are just hoping for more than is possible in terms of their focus? It sounds to me like you're doing all the right things.

 

In fact I wonder if the fact that you're constantly changing things is actually proving off putting for the children? It might take a few days before they feel confident enough to approach a new activity or resource.

 

Hope that helps.

Sue.

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For our PSRN area we have a 'washing line' where children hang up a variety of resources and spend

an age counting, sorting and sequencing

 

My children love a washing line tied around table legs so they can sit on the floor while pegging.Used this for lots of different activities-pattern elmers, number rhyme laminates, christmas decorations. socks, fireworks (to slide along)

Edited by Guest
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My children love a washing line tied around table legs so they can sit on the floor while pegging.Used this for lots of different activities-pattern elmers, number rhyme laminates, christmas decorations. socks, fireworks (to slide along)

Love this idea - photos v.cool!

 

Sunnyday

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My children love a washing line tied around table legs so they can sit on the floor while pegging.Used this for lots of different activities-pattern elmers, number rhyme laminates, christmas decorations. socks, fireworks (to slide along)

 

That is brilliant. I've heard of washing lines but wondered how to do it without tripping over them at children's height or chopping staff heads off.- stupid me-why on earth didn't i think of table legs before.

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My children love a washing line tied around table legs so they can sit on the floor while pegging.Used this for lots of different activities-pattern elmers, number rhyme laminates, christmas decorations. socks, fireworks (to slide along)

 

 

What a lovely idea, going to CASE this if you dont mind. In fact I bought some plastic pegs for home the other day, I think I may take them in tomorrow. Never thought of doing this and we have spent numerous hours trying to string washing ines up without decapitating someone or tripping them up.

Edited by lynned55
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Thanks for all your replies and ideas. I have actually bought a stand-alone jumbo washing line from TTS which the children do enjoy using to peg up number cards and other items - it wasn't cheap but well worth it!

Trekker - yes we enhance to suit needs and interests of children from detailed and spontaneous observations. Like you I generally have the ideas but struggle to put them into practise as there is only really me to do it (my TA is not paid for any extra out-of-hours time). I have tried to get away from changing everything on a Monday as I was just ending up whizzing around in a panic and feeling bad because I hadn't got everything ready but it's hard to get away from this to some extent as I plan on a weekly basis (using the current weeks obs to inform planning). I know it's good practise to keep the same enhancements available for at least a few days but then always seem to worry that I've left them too long or not had time to develop them further. My other problem is resources - although we are quite well resourced in terms of basis provision we're a bit lacking with extra resources which we can add to areas - so I end up having to make things which often puts a delay on getting the enhancements into the areas.

My thoughts about adding the extra activities has really come from the children who seem to get really involved in any more directed activities that we put out for a couple of days. I even have children who want homework!! Maybe it's just getting the right balance of familiar, continuous resources and new resources?

I do keep the basic provision consistent as I understand how important continuity of provision is, I have just tried changing a few items around to see if this effects the children's interest in the areas - I'm not constantly changing (just constantly evaluating!!)

 

Thanks again - any further advice woule be warmly welcomed!!

Green Hippo xx

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Having a dedicated PSRN area is, IMHO, totally unnecessary. Every other resource has PSRN possibilities - shapes, sizes, bigger, smaller, more, less etc.

 

In our setting we feel confident that we can introduce (and subsequently enhance) PSRN throughout and simply get into the flow of doing it automatically right across the provision.

 

I also think that it is important to not chop and change too much and give the kids a chance to explore the provision over the course of a week or two, by which time you will be able to see from your observations which kids are not accessing the focus areas by choice, and can intervene if need be.

 

Not sure of that helps or not! :o

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Its so reassuring to know others are in the same position as us!!

 

We have an 8 week summary for each child where they are at.

We then plan activities for them over the next 8 weeks

 

Finding a way how to put this into planning is a nightmare!

Do we enhance our provision with resources in hoping these children will access, doesnt alwys happen, ie billy really intersted in balls plan a throwing and catching activity, did he go near the balls NO!

 

We have tried each keyworker planning for their individual activities each week they are all doing this, seems in a rush,- trying to juggle this around with childrens days off and keyworkers days off is proving difficult. Staff dont know whether they are coming or going!

 

We dont have topics but have Focus Activities for loose theme, ie world book day chinese new year- BUT NO TIME TO DO THESE!

 

The biggest problem is 2-5 year olds are free flowing altogether in 2 rooms plus garden with a member of staff in each and one floating they cant seem to get activities done, 2 year old flit from one thing to another, wrecking the workshop areas and disrupt the older children!

 

We try so hard to maintain the areas but with one person in each room with 3 workshops its chaos

 

We recently had Oftsed who said dont free flow then, if we want to split the children into age do so!! Great I thought! She said do what you believe in, dont be dictated to our Early Years Team, cant win can we!!

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Its so reassuring to know others are in the same position as us!!

 

We have an 8 week summary for each child where they are at.

We then plan activities for them over the next 8 weeks

 

Finding a way how to put this into planning is a nightmare!

Do we enhance our provision with resources in hoping these children will access, doesnt alwys happen, ie billy really intersted in balls plan a throwing and catching activity, did he go near the balls NO!

 

We have tried each keyworker planning for their individual activities each week they are all doing this, seems in a rush,- trying to juggle this around with childrens days off and keyworkers days off is proving difficult. Staff dont know whether they are coming or going!

 

We dont have topics but have Focus Activities for loose theme, ie world book day chinese new year- BUT NO TIME TO DO THESE!

 

The biggest problem is 2-5 year olds are free flowing altogether in 2 rooms plus garden with a member of staff in each and one floating they cant seem to get activities done, 2 year old flit from one thing to another, wrecking the workshop areas and disrupt the older children!

 

We try so hard to maintain the areas but with one person in each room with 3 workshops its chaos

 

We recently had Oftsed who said dont free flow then, if we want to split the children into age do so!! Great I thought! She said do what you believe in, dont be dictated to our Early Years Team, cant win can we!!

Re. your last paragraph - CRIKEY! - How are we ever meant to know what is and what isn't acceptable - I thought free-flow was the 'be all and end all' of everything now - silly me!!!

 

Sunnyday

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I really agree with the comment that we need to do what we believe is right for the children we work with. Almost a year ago we separated our 2 year olds from the 3 and 4 year olds and all the staff agree that this is better for us. I know there are different schools of thought on it and I can see that 2 year olds can learn from older children. However in practical terms for us it was a nightmare and now the 2 year olds benefit from a smaller group with more adult attention.

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I really agree with the comment that we need to do what we believe is right for the children we work with. Almost a year ago we separated our 2 year olds from the 3 and 4 year olds and all the staff agree that this is better for us. I know there are different schools of thought on it and I can see that 2 year olds can learn from older children. However in practical terms for us it was a nightmare and now the 2 year olds benefit from a smaller group with more adult attention.

Good for you - isn't difficult though to judge what might or might not be acceptable to the Big O - or is this just me?

 

Sunnyday

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I was lucky to have an approachable ofsted inspector, I do have the gift of the gab and my other hald said i could sell sand to the arabs! But I was honest with Ofsted I said we were on a journey (she liked that!) the planning is challenging us but even more so the younger children and workshops!

 

As I said in my last post she said I am responsible to Ofsted not our local LA, as long as I was doing what I beleived in and the parents were happy and the children were learning then she was happy!

Mind you as we all know it does depend on the individual inspector!

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maths comes into all areas why have a maths area if it is not used?

dont go for more focused activites just follow child led actvities and enhance from there

 

spend 5 - 10 mins looking at you setting and ask yourself

'what is it like for a child here?'

 

 

this week we have followed the children interest for all things witchy and wizardy

 

today we made gunchy (spelling rubish i think?) jelly with the children and made it into a spell potion mixture the children added spiders, worms bats etc (not real ones :))

 

we counted added up took away, we looked at the biggest the one with the most legs,

we grouped them

 

this was not a maths table nor was it a CLL table but all these things played a part

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